At a time when advertising and distribution for print publications have taken a beating because of the Covid-19 pandemic and most print publishers have already announced drastic measures to stay afloat, India Today Group is also taking several cost optimisation measures, including closure of some publications and reducing staff strength.
In an email sent to employees, India Today Group Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Aroon Purie announced his plans to make the print businesses of the group to be future-ready in a post-Covid world.
“For the past five years, the print medium has faced the onslaught of digital like all other businesses. Consequently, we have seen challenging times for the magazine, but we have continued to produce high-quality journalism against all these odds. Although our competition stopped producing printed copies during the lockdowns, we continued to do so. We take great pride in that fact that since 1975 we have not missed a single issue of IT, ITH and BT, come what may. We are on our 1,734th issue of India Today and our relentless spirit has been widely appreciated. The coronavirus pandemic also brought a flood of misinformation that saw a greater need for credible sources of information like India Today and Business Today. Unfortunately, in spite of this critical need, the business prognosis post-pandemic is very bleak for the foreseeable future,” Purie wrote.
In IRS Q42019, India Today English had recorded a total readership of 95 lakh while India Today Hindi was the second-largest read magazine with 66 lakh TR.
“We have had to reimagine India Today and other magazines again in all aspects and so far, we have been connecting very well in these times with our traditional as well as digital audience. I think we are on the right path and have done some stellar work around the corona crisis. The daily digital edition of Insight is a good effort and it will only get better. I have always believed that quality will have an audience in whatever form. That belief remains unshaken. We will have to continue to provide perspective to the information overload, filter out the noise to give understanding and provide well-researched analytical stories. There will always be a space for the magazine in the intelligent household as our readership of 9.5 million bears testimony to it,” Purie added.
Addressing the need to keep abreast with the changing business environment, Purie said, “I remain optimistic about our future, but the cost structures have to be adjusted to the new ground reality. Smart organisations, even empires, adapt to new circumstances. Otherwise, they end up in the dustbin of history. We need to do this to continue to provide quality journalism on a sustainable basis. I would also like to mention here that we had already taken steps to make Business Today future-ready by making it a digital-first publication while continuing to bring out a fine magazine that remains the leader in its genre. The Lifestyle publications have done a tremendous job of addressing the new reality and have been producing digital-only editions.”
Purie concluded by announcing the measures. “Regrettably, as the current situation unfolds, we are forced to take unprecedented steps to make all our magazines viable. Some publications, editorial and business initiatives will cease. Accordingly, we would be reducing our staff strength. Those we have to part ways with will be informed individually. Further, starting this month, there will be a reduction in staff salaries across the board with senior members of our team taking the biggest cuts. Our HR department will communicate to each person their revised compensation terms,” he said.